NASA: Mapping the Moon with Sport

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Dan alerted me to these images which have been released by NASA. Strangely, there seems to be no accompanying explanation. I guess sports fields are being used a vernacular unit of measurement to suggest the scale of exploration carried out on the surface on the Moon by Apollo 11 crew members Armstrong and Aldrin. Sports fields - along with double Decker Buses and Wales - are the most common method of describing the size of objects beyond normal comprehension, into which category the moon most defiantly falls. But its also a mapping of a particular kind of culture onto an extra-terrestrial body, as though space can't be understood as simply empty and abstract entity. Projecting the highly codified spacial diagrams of Football and Baseball onto the moons surface is a way of conceptually filling the emptiness. Perhaps it is this same idea that leads astronauts to play golf on the moon - reducing the physical characteristics of an alien landscape to a tricky par 4 on the way to the clubhouse.

I've always like the inverted idea expressed through Gilbert and Georges 'Souvenir Hyde Park Walk' from 1969. Coinciding with Neil Armstongs historic first steps onto the moon, the two artists strolled through the Rhodedendrums of Hyde Park - somehow conflating the two very different kinds of promenades by overlaying them in time.

Posted by sam at April 19, 2008 12:04 PM

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